County approved for $50 million in bonds for swimming pool/recreation center, debt refinancing

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The Local Government Commission (LGC) of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer announced this month that Hoke County received the Commission’s approval to obtain up to $50 million in limited obligation bonds.

The money will be used for two purposes: building the county’s new public swimming pool and recreation center, and paying off some existing county debt in order to save money on financing costs.

“Hoke County won approval to obtain $50 million in limited obligation bonds to build the 53,000-square-foot James E. Leach Aquatic and Recreation Center, two basketball courts, ball fields and Parks and Recreation Department office space on U.S. 401 in East Hoke,” a June 2 press release from the LGC stated.

The recreation center will also serve as the county’s new primary emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster. Hoke officials broke ground on the long-planned project in February.

Garvin Ferguson of the Hoke County Finance Office said the par amount – the face value of the limited obligation bonds – came out to $39,315,000. About $20,495,000 of the money will go toward building the James A. Leach Aquatic and Recreation Center.

The county will pay off some existing debt using the other $18,820,000. Specifically, according to LGC documents, the county will use the money to refund two 2007 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Installment Financing Contracts, a 2005 USDA Installment Financing Contract, a 2008 Installment Financing Contract, 2007 GO Bond and a 2013 USDA Revenue Bond.

Overall the move should help the county save about $4.2 million in financing costs, the LGC noted in documents. Ferguson said in an email that the refinancing will be repaid at a true interest cost of 1.78 percent.

Local governments in North Carolina must get the LGC’s approval for most major financing projects. The county will also have to go before the Commission if local leaders pursue plans to build a new courthouse and administration building.

Overall the LGC approved more than $1 billion in financing for counties and municipalities across the entire state at its recent meeting. Moore County received approval for $71 million in limited obligation bonds to “acquire, build and equip a new, multi-story county courthouse in Carthage that will contain courtrooms for District and Superior courts, and to renovate the existing courthouse,” according to a press release. Moore County will also build county offices and other support facilities, and refund prior loans.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell is chairman of the LGC and the other board members are North Carolina Department of State Treasurer personnel.

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